All around us there are businesses small and big headed up by inspiring women. Some work online, some work in a physical space, some work during the days, some work during the nights, some work alone, some work together: the more we share, the more we can learn from each other. And the more we learn from each other, the more we can teach the ones following in our footsteps. May these women inspire you as they inspire us.
Today on the blog we interview Harriet, the owner of online business Clothing Care Co. Enjoy!
Hello! I’m Harriet, the sewing and sustainability lover behind Clothing Care Co. I started sewing my own clothes around three years ago, with one of my main motivators being how fast the clothes I was buying from high street shops decided to start falling apart. I’ve always been an advocate for taking care of the things that you own, but thought that it was interesting that, as a society, we didn’t really seem to do that with our clothes – especially the every day ones! After trying to find information on the internet about what can be done to make our clothes last longer, I realised that there wasn’t really one dedicated website for that information, and thought about how helpful that would be for people that wanted to take steps to make their wardrobe (especially their handmade clothes) last as long as possible. So, I decided to set that website up myself, and so became Clothing Care Co!
You are the author of The Little Book of Stain Removal. Can you tell us a bit about your book and what made you decide to write it?
I actually came up with the idea for the book one afternoon in mid-2017 at a family birthday party. I was wearing my favourite shirt in the whole world – a white one, no less – when I got caught up in the excitement of a dog walking past the window, and ended up spilling someone else’s red wine all over my shirt. It wasn’t even just a little bit, it was the entire glass! I whizzed into the bathroom looking like a stab victim, whipped off the shirt and began to frantically Google what I could do to get this stain out. As you can imagine, lots of different websites were popping up, but the problem was that some sites were swearing me off of treatments that others wholeheartedly endorsed, so I was getting all confused while the red wine was slowly setting into my shirt. It was in that exact moment that I decided I needed to write a clear, cohesive guide for people! The Little Book of Stain Removal comes in physical and eBook form, and contains instructions on how to remove over 50 different stains. I’ve tested all of the methods myself, so I’ve made sure that only the best ones have made the cut!
What are your favourite stain removal tricks?
To be honest, all of my stain removal tricks are in the book! I am a big proponent of using the gentlest possible stain removal method on your clothes, to avoid damaging the fabric. While we may be led to believe that bleach is great at getting out stains, it usually isn’t! Something that I always recommend though, is to treat a stain as soon as you notice it – most of the time, the fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove! Spot treating is always great too; you just focus on the one part of the garment which is stained, rather than washing the whole thing. After the upsetting ruining of the white shirt I mentioned earlier, I decided to publish the pages on removing red wine stains on my website, so that anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation can know exactly what they’re doing! If you fancy a read, you can read all about it here.
People are becoming more aware of the effect of our clothing production and consumption. How do you think this will change how people care for their clothes?
I’m so pleased that the effects of fast fashion and clothing production are in the public eye a lot more now! I think (and hope!) that people will start to realise that being able to pop to the high street and get four tops for £10 might not be the best deal after all – you will have sacrificed something, whether that’s how ethically the materials were sourced and the clothing was produced, the cost to the environment, or simply the quality of the final clothes. I have a post on my blog about what to keep an eye out for when you’re shopping, so you know that what you’re buying is good quality!
Things like mending clothes and tricks for difficult stains have for a while been close to extinction, especially in our generation. Do you think these skills are starting to make a comeback?
I completely agree that mending, altering and looking after our clothes in general are skills that have really been out of circulation for a fair few years – and it’s not really our fault, we’ve just not been taught how to do any of them, and instead encouraged to blindly spend on fast fashion and ‘throwaway’ clothes. I do hope that the rise in awareness around sustainability and ethical clothing (I also have a blog post on my site about great places to buy ethical fabrics if you make your own clothes) is going to give people a bit of a kick up the backside so that more of an effort is made to learn about how to look after your things – and hopefully people will come to my website to learn!
You have started an exciting new project in January with Clothing Care Co – please tell us more!
I am! On the 30th of January, I launched my new service, Darn It. I love mending holes and tears in clothes and making the wear and tear a bit of a feature, so the idea is that people will contact me via the Darn It page on my website, we’ll discuss how they’d like the garment to be mended, whether they would like a patch, embroidery, darning, sashiko, invisible mending – whatever they like! It will be a real team effort and the finished product will be entirely unique. Then, they’ll send me the garment in the post, I’ll mend it and send it right back! I really can’t wait to get it up and running.
Thank You, Harriet!
You can follow Harriet’s dressmaking adventures here,
The Little Book of Stain Removal is available for purchase here.